The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Illinois Department of
Veterans' Affairs, Illinois Korean Memorial Association, and the
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, along with media
partners the Illinois Press Association and the Illinois
Broadcasters Association, are sponsoring "Illinois Remembers the
Forgotten War." For more information, visit
Illinoisans killed in action in Korea,
By county of residence
(Source: U.S. Department of Defense records)
- Sgt. James L. Diggs Jr., Army, April 10.
- Pvt. Ronald J. Vecchie, Army, April 19.
Pfc. Charles W. Berg,
Army, April 15.
Pfc. Jared W. Fox,
Army, April 16.
Pfc. Carl T. Franke
Jr., Army, April 20.
Pvt. Roy Ray Jr.,
Army, April 27.
Sgt. Harold F. Rice,
Marines, April 10.
Cpl. Walter D. Schmid,
Marines, April 9.
- Pfc. James E. Gordley, Army, April 1.
- 1st Lt. Robert E. Varney, Army, April 5.
- Cpl. Richard W. Parks, Army, April 16.
Key events during the Korean War, April 1953
A name that became synonymous with the Korean War, Pork Chop
Hill, was again the site of savage fighting in April 1953. As they
had done in November 1952 and March 1953, waves of Communist forces
attacked the nondescript hill on April 16 in an attempt to dislodge
the United Nations defenders, which included the 17th and 31st
Infantry Regiments of the United States 7th Infantry Division.
American forces were hit hard and suffered heavy casualties, but
were able to hold their ground, due largely to an astounding barrage
of 77,349 artillery rounds that rained down on the Communist
attackers during the two-day battle.
But the worst was yet to come for the defenders of Pork Chop
Hill, as both sides would soon learn that summer. The struggle for
what was essentially a meaningless piece of terrain had become a
test of wills for both sides.
An encouraging sign occurred between April 20 and 26 as sick and
wounded prisoners of war were exchanged by Communist and United
Nations forces in what was called "Operation Little Switch." During
the prisoner exchange at Panmunjom, the site of the peace talks, the
United Nations turned over 5,194 North Korean soldiers, 1,030
Chinese soldiers and 446 civilian detainees. The Communists turned
over 149 Americans, 461 South Koreans, 32 United Kingdom soldiers,
15 Turks, six Colombians, five Australians, two Canadians, and one
each from the Philippines, South Africa, Greece and the Netherlands.
On April 26, the final day of Operation Little Switch, armistice
talks resumed at Panmunjom after a six-month hiatus.
Ironically, during the next several months, the government of
South Korean President Syngman Rhee would prove to be the biggest
stumbling block as the two sides tried to hammer out an end to the
war. Rhee skillfully engineered public support for a unified Korea,
to include a parade on April 10 by 50,000 students in the port city
of Pusan demanding "Unification or Death." Rhee sought nothing less
than a reunited Korea, with himself in charge.
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Illinois Korean War Memorial
The Illinois Korean War Memorial is located in Springfield's Oak
Ridge Cemetery, the same cemetery that contains the Lincoln Tomb.
Oak Ridge is the nation's second-most-visited burial ground, behind
only Arlington National Cemetery.
Dedicated on June 16, 1996, the memorial consists of a
12-foot-tall bronze bell mounted on a granite base. At the
circumference of the base are four niches, each with a
larger-than-life figure representing a branch of the armed services.
Inscribed on the base are the names of 1,754 Illinoisans killed in
The Illinois Korean War Memorial is administered by the Illinois
Historic Preservation Agency and may be visited daily free of
Korean War veterans oral history project
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
The oral history program at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential
Library and Museum offers
"Veterans Remember," a collection of interviews with Illinois
residents about their wartime experiences, at the library's website,
library/Pages/default.aspx. The interviews concern the
experiences of Illinois veterans who fought in several conflicts,
including the Korean War, as well as the experiences of those on the
home front. Visitors to the website can listen to or watch the
interviews in their entirety. Several of the interviews have
transcripts, and most have still images as well.
Website visitors will need a computer capable of playing MP3
audio files or MPG compressed video files in order to listen to the
interviews. The transcripts and still images are also accessible.
Volunteers conducted and edited many of the interviews and developed
the transcripts that accompany them.
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs
The mission of the Illinois Department of
Veterans' Affairs is to empower veterans and their families to
thrive. The department does this by assisting them in navigating the
system of federal state and local resources and benefits; by
providing long-term health care for eligible veterans in the state's
Veterans' Homes; and by partnering with other agencies and
nonprofits to help veterans address education, mental health,
housing, employment and other challenges. For more information,
http://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/. Follow them at
Korean War booklet
The Illinois Korean Memorial Association, an all-volunteer
organization, has published a booklet, "A Brief History of the
Korean War," copies of which have been provided free of charge to
public libraries, high schools and junior high schools in Illinois.
Individuals may obtain a copy by sending a $10 check or money order
to: Illinois Korean Memorial Association, P.O. Box 8554,
Springfield, IL 62791.
Tax-deductible donations are welcome. All donations go to the
book project and to the upkeep of the Illinois Korean War Memorial.
[Text from file received from the